CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Campaign signs have dotted the landscape of the City of Central for weeks. Monday evening, residents got a chance to hear why the candidates believe they are the best for the job.
In April, those who live in Central will be electing new city council members, a new police chief and a new mayor. Mac Watts has held the title of mayor since the city incorporated in 2005. Watts decided not to run again.
"I just decided it was time to step up," said Dave Freneaux, one of the men who's qualified for mayor.
Jr. Shelton, is also on the ballot for the position. "I ran in 2010." Shelton, challenged Watts in the last election, but lost by 300 votes. He says he never disconnected from city issues and is ready to become the next leader.
Dave Freneaux says this is his first run at a public office, since losing his seventh grade treasury election.
Both men are listed as Republicans. And they have similar ideas about what needs to be done over the next four years.
"Our sewer infrastructure is lacking," said Freneaux.
Likewise, Shelton said, "We have to absolutely get a drainage program."
But the primary area where both are focused, is on economic development.
"We spend half our sales tax dollars elsewhere. Our city is funded entirely by two percent sales tax," said Freneaux. Bringing in business, he says, would equal a better tax base. That is what the business owner and accountant is concerned with.
"You can't buy a suit here. You can't buy appliances here. There are things that we need. We need to attract some light industrial, non-smokestack business. Some good solid property tax generating for our schools and jobs and business for our citizens."
Shelton too says he has some business experience. His family owned a business in Baton Rouge for 56 years, three years ago he began working as a realtor. He believes his background will help him bring in the growth that residents are asking for.
"We have people moving in from all over the parish and the state because of our schools. They expect certain goods and services. We need to bring that to them," he said.
Shelton says the residential side is fine, but commercial is lacking. "I'd love to see commercial development. Something with good sustainable jobs. I'll give you an example - Taco Bell wants to come to Central. I'd like to have Taco Bell's distribution center. I mean, that's something that someone can make a career out of."
Both men believe they can improve the area, while keeping Central a quaint, quiet and peaceful city.
The elections for mayor, council and police chief are Saturday, April 5, 2014.